Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciller: Carlos Pacheco
Colourist: Guru eFX
Inker: Roger Bonet
Letterer: Virtual Calligraphy’s Joe Caramagna
Previously, in Uncanny X-Men: The events of Avengers Vs. X-Men are reverberating throughout the Marvel Universe. Cyclops is now in custody for his crimes as the Dark Phoenix, not least of which was killing the longtime leader of the X-Men, Professor Charles Xavier. Cyclops regrets Xavier’s death, but the fact that his escapades as the Phoenix has allowed new mutants to be born across the globe means that he feels his actions are justified.
Some of the other X-Men are still unaccounted for. Danger, still under the control of UNIT, the psychopathic alien computer, is the most at risk, but the rest of the Extinction Team are also missing; Psylocke, Magneto, Colossus, Emma Frost, and Magik are all out there. What are their plans now that the Phoenix is gone?
Having both of his runs on titles ending at the same time must be both heaven and hell for Kieron Gillen. With everything that has been going on in both Uncanny X-Men and Journey Into Mystery coming to a head, there is much praise to be heaped on him for both the final issues and the runs in general. But of course, everything must come to an end, and it must be difficult for him to say goodbye to the characters he has written for so long (except Kid Loki, since Gillen will be attached to him over in Young Avengers for the time being). This final issue of Uncanny X-Men ends on a very high note, so that his run will be remembered with fondness.
Like the previous one, this issue deals with the aftermath of the Avengers Vs. X-Men crossover by checking in with all of the main characters to see where they find themselves after the dust has settled. Danger gets a few pages to wrap up her storyline with UNIT to begin with, and there’s a sense that Gillen had a few more cards left to play here, but didn’t get the time do it. The ending is satisfying, but does have a feeling of unfinished business, and it is unlikely that Gillen will have the opportunity to return to UNIT at any point soon, which is a shame.
Then we get a few pages to deal with Magik and Colossus, which touches on the same plot points from the previous issue, but concludes everything that the pair have been working towards for a while now. It seems a bit strange to retread the same points that we had last issue, when the story seemed all but concluded last issue, but there’s one last point that needed to be addressed here that makes it worthwhile. It’s the usual reset that comes with a title ending and a new creative team appearing, but it’s done well and doesn’t feel like Gillen pulled the conclusion of the plot threads from nowhere.
And then there’s the final scene, which involves Cyclops and Kate Kildare, a character who has been around for the majority of both Gillen’s run and Fraction’s before him. Her story is completed here, but another story begins, and makes some of the other issues of the Avengers Vs. X-Men tie-in for this title make a bit more sense. This scene made my jaw drop at least twice, and allows Gillen to revisit a character he has proven that he can write exceedingly well, so it is nice to see him do so again before the series concludes.
It seems appropriate that Carlos Pacheco, the artist who launched this series, returns to draw the final issue to give the series a bit of symmetry. His art, as always is easy on the eyes if a little unremarkable. I would be hard pressed to pick his art out of a line-up, and that’s not usually a good sign. That said, there’s nothing wrong with his art either, and it’s nice to see that Pacheco was able to draw the entire issue without help, which makes two issues out of twenty, so there’s that to be thankful for.
This issue was enough to make me realise that, as much as I love Gillen’s writing on this title, I am actually invested in the characters that make this series the flagship X-Men book on the stands, and convince me that I did in fact want to follow them into All-New X-Men next month. This series had has its ups and downs, but Gillen’s run has been overall excellent, with this issue a fantastic point to end on. Bring on Bendis.
GO Rating: 4/5